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You’ve Been Defrosting Your Food All Wrong — Here’s How to Do It Right

One wrong move could give you food poisoning

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Use these simple methods to safely defrost any type of food.

How do you defrost your food before you cook it? There are a few popular methods — only some of which are safe. One popular method is specifically warned against by the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture: thawing on your counter.

You’ve Been Defrosting Your Food All Wrong — Here’s How to Do It Right Gallery

Though it’s common practice to leave a hunk of frozen meat on your counter for a couple hours before cooking dinner, this method could put you at risk of getting food poisoning. Why? Because foodborne bacteria is more likely to grow at room temperature. So any perishable food left out on the counter for more than two hours is at risk. That’s why eating pizza you left out overnight is a bad idea. It could make you sick.

The USDA also warns against defrosting in a garage, basement, car, dishwasher or plastic garbage bag. Thawing foods by leaving them outdoors is also unsafe.

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Luckily, the right ways to defrost food are really easy to do. Here is a simple guide to the three most basic, effective methods.